SpringLocker Evolves from Vision to Reality with BlueChannel

springlocker-logo

You like outdoor gear and activities. You read reviews. You run your searches. You’re a smart shopper and active on social networks. But where can you go to get recommendations about gear and activities from people you know and trust, and from professionals in your fields of interest? Where can you see the gear program operators use themselves and hear what the guides have to say about it?

SpringLocker.com

SpringLocker.com takes you beyond the flat, boring star ratings and recommendations available on consumer sites. This site connects you with real people interested in the same things you are and provides you with links, photos, descriptions and published prices for the gear and activities you wish to purchase.

One of the biggest fears when launching a start-up is that you hire the wrong development team.  Missed deadlines, platform issues, and awful design / execution are fairly common horror stories that can kill a start-up.  With BlueChannel, I didn’t need to worry about any of that.  The team is incredibly easy to work with and created a tremendous platform that looks beautiful and works wonderfully.  From the beginning, they have been invaluable and have helped SpringLocker in countless ways.  I continue to value their feedback and advice and look forward to working with them as the site grows and develops.
Dan Milligan - Founder, SpringLocker

wrap-your-arms-around-it

When SpringLocker founder Dan Milligan came to us with the idea for the site, we all generally understood what he was going for. It would be a site showcasing outdoor gear and trips. There would be different types of users able to do different types of things. Gear from other sites would need to be easily added to SpringLocker. Dan would need statistical reporting and be able to track affiliate relationships. The site would allow users to add items and people to their accounts. Emails would be automatically sent out from the system to admins and users. Great concepts…but how to execute? That’s where we came in.


doing-our-thing

Our job was to get the concepts broken down into deliverable components and to get specific about requirements and logic.  So we organized our work into three buckets:

  • Front-end Site Features/Components
  • Back-end (Admin Only) Features/Components
  • Behind-the-Scenes Programming Tasks

Each bucket contained detailed descriptions for every required function or feature.


batting-it-back-forth

Following our tried-and-true process, through iterative launches (phased development), we brought the programmed reality of Dan’s concepts to him piece by piece. He was able to play with the search functionality and course-correct development by requesting more filters and improved logic. He was able to go through the registration process for each of his user types and introduce new steps in the approval and review process. He reviewed preliminary statistical reports and provided us with a wish list of statistical information he wanted. Where possible, we suggested the money-saving option of leveraging Google Analytics via custom integration.  Where it wasn’t possible, we developed standalone custom reports available in the SpringLocker admin. Each launch provided Dan the ability to interact with his site in a real way. His valuable feedback allowed us to tweak development until the site was fully realized.

Client

SpringLocker

Industry

Outdoor Gear & Activities

BlueChannel Value

  • Teamwork
    Dan needed a web team he could trust and was referred to us by a longtime BlueChannel vendor. We spent a lot of time early on talking as a group, fleshing out ideas and concepts, and getting specific about vision. The sales process transitioned effortlessly into development. Communication flowed from the client to management to programming and back again seamlessly, and all team members were allowed to shine in their respective disciplines.
  • Guidance
    Our favorite clients are open to ideas and suggestions. Dan often shared his ideas followed by “however you think is best to implement” – that’s music to our ears. And, if we found ourselves developing a function or feature we didn’t think would bring value to his users, we told him. He heard us and continues to use us for new development and as a sounding board for new ideas.
  • Heroics
    Doing more, being more. We made sure Dan knew where he was spending his money. We suggested features he hadn’t considered. We suggested cutting potentially unneeded functionality. We continue to act as an advocate rooting for SpringLocker’s success, providing value and discount pricing where and when we can.

Nuts & Bolts

  • Custom programming
    • User management
    • Search and filtering
    • Consumer site product information gathering
  • Built on Laravel PHP framework
  • Integration with and custom reports from Google Analytics
  • Tie-in with 3rd party email programs
  • AvantLink and CJ product feeds

reflection-projection

What made this project a success? In a nutshell – Trust. Dan relied on our expertise to develop the features and functionality as we saw fit. He was open to suggestions. He also knew what he wanted and was willing to push back if we felt a request was leading down a rabbit hole but he still wanted it. All of us communicated well and often; there were no surprises. Upon the project’s completion, Dan kept development going and had us add functionality to speed up the population of gear available on the site. He had the foresight to realize you can only make a first impression once and if the site wasn’t robust and full of products, early adoption and buy-in might be tricky. We anticipate a long relationship with Dan and SpringLocker and wish him the best as the site usage ramps up.

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